Nearly 5 000 people were murdered in SA in three months

Police minister, Bheki Cele.
Police minister, Bheki Cele.

A total of 4 976 people were killed in the first three months of 2021, 387 more than in the same period in the 2019/2020 financial year, with the top spot in South Africa going to the Plessislaer Police Station in Pietermaritzburg.

The number of attempted murder cases also increased by 8.7% between January and March this year.

Police Minister Bheki Cele described the lawlessness in the country as a crisis, which had the potential to threaten SA’s peace and stability.

He added: “It is concerning that the Eastern Cape and the KwaZulu-Natal provinces recorded double digit increases [for murder], standing at 21,5% and 16.9% respectively.

“Unfortunately, 1 327 people died in the places of residence of either the victim or the perpetrator, including the homes of family friends and neighbours.”

A further 2 378 people were killed in streets, open fields, recreational parks, beaches and abandoned buildings.

Motives for these murders included arguments, often fuelled by drink and drugs, robberies, both residential and non-residential, street robberies, mob justice and gang-related incidents.

Cele also condemned the murder of 24 South African Police Service officers at the “hands of callous, heartless and brazen criminals.”

Eleven officers were murdered while preventing, combating or solving crime, and others were attacked or ambushed while conducting patrols and had their official firearms stolen.

“It cannot be normal that police officers who, each day, go out there to protect and to serve, are killed and the public remains unshaken,” Cele said.

“There is no public outrage, no outcry from activists and NGOs and no one is demanding justice for them.

"So, if we are to win this fight against crime, such criminal acts against police can't be ignored but [must] be addressed at community level.”

Speaking about the scourge of rape and gender-based violence in South Africa, the minister said: “The sexual violence meted against women in this country is simply shameful [and] seemingly men and children are not spared.”

Cele added that while it was good to see a decline in the number of sexual offences cases between January and March, it was still unacceptable that 9 518 people were raped during this period.

A sample of 6 893 rape incidents revealed that 4 130 took place at the home of the victim or the home of the alleged rapist.

The Eastern Cape’s Lusikisiki Police Station recorded the highest incidents of rape, overtaking Inanda Police Station, near Durban, which held the number one position for some years.

Cele said that the positive results seen in some areas, including assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, sexual offences, common assault, robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances, showed that officers had heeded his call to “put the shoulder to the wheel”.

“Burglary at residential and non-residential premises [has] declined drastically by double digits,” Cele added. “Theft of vehicles and motorcycles and theft out of motor vehicles also recorded double digit declines.

“We owe this to a proactive and preventative policing strategy, which is realised through, amongst other things, increased police visibility.”

The Minister’s stance on alcohol remains as hardline as ever, with him stating that in 2 855 incidents of assault GBH, it was confirmed that alcohol was consumed either by the victim or the perpetrator or both.

More than 2 000 incidents took place at either a bar, a night club, a tavern or a shebeen, he added.

“Alcohol abuse is the ‘albatross around ones neck’ for us in the SAPS and certainly for the communities we serve,” Cele said.

“Again, communities can no longer afford to stand aside and look, they have to be part of the crime solution, by saying NO to alcohol abuse.

“Some communities have more taverns as compared to any other establishment, in their area of residence, including churches and schools combined.

“You simply cannot expect those communities to have social stability, due to the over supply of liquor.”

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